Ministers and Deputy Ministers must undergo a course in parliamentary reform so that they won’t create dubious history in the world by committing the most unparliamentary sin as evading parliamentary questions as happened in the current meeting of Parliament.
I was shocked when I received the answer to my question asking for salaries and allowances for government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs).
My question read: Minta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan gaji dan elaun yang diterima oleh semua pengurusan tertinggi syarikat berkaitan Kerajaan (GLC) dan syarikat pelaburan berkaitan Kerajaan (GLIC) untuk setiap tahun bagi lima tahun yang lepas.
The question was first directed at the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri, but at the last minute, it was switched to the Finance Minister to answer.
The answer I got from the Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is as follows:
“Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, penetapan gaji dan elaun di dalam syarikat berkaitan Kerajaan (GLC) dan syarikat pelaburan berkaitan Kerajaan (GLIC) adalah berdasarkan beberapa kriteria utama seperti saiz syarikat, jenis perniagaan, status syarikat (tersenerai atau tidak tersenerai), komplesiti tugas dan tanggungjawab serta lain-lain kriteria lagi. Selain itu, kerajaan turut mengambil kira factor kajian pasaran bagi memastikan gaji dan elaun yang ditetapkan berpadanan atau mark-to-market. Perkara ini penting bagi memastikan syarikat-syarikat berkenaan dapat mengekalkan bakat dan kemahiran kakitangan (right talent and skill-set) selain dapat menarik bakat yang terbaik daripada pasaran untuk menyertai syarikat. Perkara ini penting bagi memastikan syarikat-syarikat berkaitan Kerajaan kekal berdaya saing terutamanya dalam mengharungi keadaan ekonomi ketika ini.”
Even a primary school student can tell Tengku Zafrul that he is not answering my question at all.
What he actually said could be explanation for the different salaries and allowances for the GLCs and GLICs, but he failed to answer my question asking him to reveal the salaries and allowances of the top officials of the GLCs and GLICs.
This a major blow to the government’s accountability and transparency, and I want to ask Tengku Zafrul what was he trying to hide from the people of Malaysia, as well as to inform him that he had committed a serious parliamentary blunder in evading a parliamentary question.
This has not happened in other Parliaments – why is it happening in the Malaysian Parliament?
In fact, under the eight Malaysian Prime Ministers earlier from 1957 to 2011, the evasion of parliamentary questions had not been so blatant as happened in the current Parliamentary meeting.
DAP MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, complained that she has not got a proper reply to the Prime Minister on the size, cost and number of non-government personnel involved in the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan while the DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran complained that the Human Resources Minister, M. Saravanan had failed answer his question on the spending of overseas trips of the Human Resources Development Corporation (HRS Corp) Chairman and CEO since 2020.
Can the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri, explain why his Cabinet cannot even live up to the standards of previous Prime Ministers and Cabinets on parliamentary replies by Ministers and Deputy Ministers?